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Dog bite draws complaint from father in Long County

POSTED: April 18, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Mike Riddle / Coastal Courier/

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LUDOWICI -- Scott Griffin met with Long County Board of Health Chairman Randy Wilson on March 26 to complain about how his son being bitten by a dog was handled.
According to Griffin, the incident took place on the dirt road where he and his son, Michael, live, off Highway 261.
According to the father, on March 9 his son was walking in front of his home, when the 17-year-old was bitten on the leg by a pit bull.
The father then called the Long County Sheriff's Department and Deputies Julius Bargeron and Deputy Walter Pelton responded.
According to Griffin, Bargeron drove into the driveway next to Griffin's home, where the dog lives, but when he tried to get out the dog growled and barked, not allowing the deputy to get out. So Bargeron blew the horn to get the dog owner's attention, but no one was home.
Pelton, in another vehicle, got out and went to the door to see if he could get an answer. While doing this, the dog charged Pelton and he shot the dog in the shoulder.  According to Griffin, the dog continued to attack and the deputy shot it the head.
The deputies left a note, informing the owner of what happened and then removed the dog.
After this, according to LCSD Sheriff Cecil Nobles, Bargeron notified Deputy Bud Carter, informing him of what had happened and asked him to contact the Long County environmental health specialist to turn the dog over to him.
The sheriff said repeated efforts were made to contact the specialist, Frederick Walton, during the day, but he could not be reached.
According to Griffin, as a result of the dog not being tested for rabies, his son has to be treated as if he had rabies.
"It's not right, my son is having to take these shots, because the dog wasn't tested, and I'm upset," Griffin said.
Wilson said, "The state failed in this instance... It is a terrible situation, and the family has a right to be upset."
Walton he could not have done anything.
"No one contacted me, and with the animal being shot in the head, there couldn't have been a test for rabies, due to the brain being damaged".
Nobles said, "We repeatedly called the number we had been given for him (Walton) and our deputies even went by the Health Department several times to see if any one was there.  Without having someone to turn the dog over to, all we could do was dispose of it"
The sheriff also said he had never had problems contacting a previous health specialist.
He defended the deputy, saying he had to stop the dog from attacking.
"He had to put the dog down to protect himself."
Wilson said the location of the shot was irrelevant
"The dog being shot in the head, is not the point, someone from the Health Department should have been available," the chairman said. "We don't know whether or not an accurate test could have been done on the dog (for rabies), and we never will know because they weren't around to get the dog."
Wilson said that the issue would be addressed with the Long County Health Department, which oversees the Environmental Health Department.
 

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